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‘Deeply concerning’: New Kelowna RCMP commander addresses detachment’s controversies

Supt. Kara Triance hopes to improve the culture within the detachment
Supt. Kara Triance, detachment commander for the Kelowna RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)

The new commander of the Kelowna RCMP is coming into a detachment which has seen a lot of public scrutiny as of late.

Lawsuits, controversies and even criminal charges against officers have plagued the detachment over the past couple of years as local Mounties have faced allegations of excessive force, sexual assault and more.

Their new boss, Supt. Kara Triance, said she has high expectations for her officers going forward.

Triance began her role as the commander of the Kelowna Regional Detachment, which oversees Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland and Lake Country, last week. She said good police conduct is of the utmost importance.

“We can not afford to get it wrong,” said Triance in a Tuesday, Nov. 3 interview with the Capital News. “Because with every wrong we have (to do) a lot of right to undo that.”

In the past year, the Kelowna RCMP has dealt with community backlash over its high number of sexual assault reports deemed ‘unfounded’, highly publicized incidents showing alleged excessive force used by officers, all as at least two Mounties — one who’s currently suspended and one former — make their way through court on criminal charges and others face civil lawsuits.

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Those high-profile incidents that the detachment is currently dealing with have presented some “deeply concerning issues,” Triance said. She hopes to maintain a more transparent relationship with both the media and public, saying she will provide this as those matters progress, but mentioned such issues can get “very complex.”

“The totality of what we’re dealing with includes a review of each one of those incidents: A look at the supervision; the leadership — right from the lowest level of a non-commissioned officer to my position — (with which) we manage our employees.”

She said the question essentially boils down to this: “At what point did we fail to uphold to (our) objectives and wherein that system did we break down?”

While acknowledging the concerns of the public, Triance said overall, the officers at the detachment are doing good police work.

“There are people who are very proud to do their work and they take their jobs very seriously.”

Noting the detachment’s struggles in recent years with sexual assault reports, Triance said she’s looking forward to working with Kelowna’s four-officer sexual assault unit, which was introduced in March. She helped build similar teams in Whistler and Squamish when she headed the RCMP’s Sea-to-Sky detachment.

“Those dedicated officers, with the unique skill set that they bring, to be able to provide services to survivors of sexual assault and to investigate very complex and serious files, are an incredible asset to those detachments.”

With almost 200 police officers under her command, Triance hopes to improve the culture within the detachment, stressing the need for strong values, conduct, professionalism, respect and integrity.

“It’s not that we go out and do the job, it’s how we do the job. For me, that starts with an internal look and investment in my employees.”

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